Former gubernatorial candidate and New York icon Cynthia Nixon announced Tuesday that she is backing Queens activist Rana Abdelhamid in her 2022 primary challenge to unseat 28-year incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
Nixon – a resident of New York’s 12th Congressional district, which covers much of Manhattan’s East Side, as well as parts of Brooklyn and Queens – said the district needs new leadership.
“I’ve seen firsthand how Carolyn Maloney has left too many parts of this district behind,” said Nixon. “It’s time for a new generation of progressive leadership, for someone who will fight for every single neighborhood, not just the rich on the Upper East Side. That’s why I’m proud to endorse Rana for Congress in NY-12, and why I’m thrilled to see progressives uniting behind the movement she’s building for housing justice, climate justice, and economic justice in this district.”
Nixon has become a prominent figure on the left wing of the Democratic Party since her failed primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2018. According to an analysis of election night results conducted by CUNY’s Center for Urban Research, Nixon’s campaign won over the majority of voters in Greenpoint and Long Island City, two neighborhoods that lie within NY-12. She joins Justice Democrats and City Council Members Brad Lander and Jimmy Van Bramer in those who have backed Abdelhamid early.
Abdelhamid thanked Nixon, acknowledging her leadership in the rise of New York’s progressive left.
“Cynthia understands that in order for progressives to win, we have to unite behind a vision that centers the most marginalized among us and empowers all of us – not just those at the top,” said Abdelhamid. “I’m proud to be able to build on the groundwork she’s laid here and fight for the 12th District we deserve.”
Abdelhamid launched her campaign in earlier this year in April. A 27-year-old Astoria native, Abdelhamid is the daughter of Egyptian immigrant parents. She graduated from Middlebury College in 2015, from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2017, and currently works at Google. She also runs a nonprofit called “Malikah” – meaning “queen” in multiple languages – that works to empower women with self-defense training. She founded the organization after a man tried to rip her hijab off her head when she was a teenager. Early on, Abdelhamid has said her campaign will be focused on affordable housing, racial justice, securing a Green New Deal, and economic security for all.
In addition to Abdelhamid, Queens native Jesse Cerrotti is also running for the seat. Suraj Patel, who has challenged Maloney twice before, has also indicated her will join the race.
Though several candidates have joined the race, Congressional redistricting is expected to take place before the 2022 midterm elections – making it unclear what the districts will look like by the primary.